Tyler Unfried

Attended University of Southern Indiana for undergraduate degree.


Hometown: Evansville, Indiana

What made you want to be a PA?

I had been working in the emergency medical field for a long time and was ready to expand my role and abilities in patient care. I firsthand would see patient's lack of preventative medicine or basic understanding of their medical problems cause them acute exacerbations, and I want to be part of the system that helps prevent people from acquiring or worsening their disease states.

Why UEPA? Or what makes UEPA different from other PA programs?

The faculty make you feel like they care about you, you feel like part of a family. From the moment I reached out for information years ago, I was checked in on regularly with personal emails. Any other program I had inquired about would send occasional generic emails out trying to get you to apply, but I could feel that UE actually wanted me rather than me having to make myself wanted by other institutions.

What do you find is your biggest challenge in being a PA student?

Time management (I tend to procrastinate). Most of the material isn't difficult to understand, just the quantity that is delivered is what can be overwhelming.

Did you do anything that really helped you prepare for PA school?

I was a Paramedic for about 12 years before starting, so a lot of things were somewhat familiar, or had a decent idea of how to recognize a lot of common things. I would say medical experience of any kind will really give you a leg up, even though it may not be required.

What is your best advice for anyone working on the CASPA application?

Be thoughtful with your answers but be yourself. The people reading them don't want to be bored with the same information that you think they "want to hear". Talk about what makes you different and stand out. I talked about some low and negative points in my past, but I highlighted what I learned from those experiences and how it gave me the qualities I have today.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Take notes daily after each lecture to stay caught up (there's a lot).

What is the one thing about PA school you weren't prepared for?

I wasn't prepared to bond so quickly and genuinely with my classmates. I can tell many of them will be friends for life and UE does a good job of selecting personalities that will work well together. It is very supportive and not competitive; we want to see each other succeed.

How hard is it…really???

I have a medical background, but it is still challenging curriculum. Most of it is not difficult to understand, just a large volume and it is easy to fall behind if you're not careful.

What is your favorite class?

The combination of History & Physical, Clinical Medicine, and Therapeutics. This is where you acquire the knowledge on how to diagnose, examine, and treat all of the conditions out there.

What is a typical day like in didactic year?

I try to start most days with some exercise, class by 8 or 9, which usually runs until about 12 with breaks here and there. Most days I hang around school to take more organized notes and try to be done and gone by 5. I try to treat it like a full-time job, but if there are exams it isn't uncommon to come back and stay late or study longer at home.

What is your favorite part of PA School?

The friendships and contacts I have made, and the material is all interesting to learn.

What is your best advice for the interview process?

Again, be yourself, dress professionally (I wore a suit). Interact and engage with others there, genuinely.

How do you balance school and other aspects of your life?

I try to be done by 5 each day, and I try to get my work done before the weekend so I can keep that to myself for friends and family. Obviously that changes with exams on Monday or Tuesday but spending a few hours each day is much better than cramming days before.